Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 9, pp 2757–2771 | Cite as

Family Social Support Networks of African American and Black Caribbean Adolescents

  • Christina J. CrossEmail author
  • Robert Joseph Taylor
  • Linda M. Chatters
Original Paper


Although family social support has been linked to numerous psychological, behavioral, and academic outcomes for Black adolescents, little research investigates the family support networks of these youths. Using nationally representative data from the National Survey of American Life Adolescent Supplement (NSAL-A), this study examines the family social support exchanges of African American and Black Caribbean adolescents. We focus specifically on the frequency of instrumental and emotional support provided by and offered to adolescents and the sociodemographic and family correlates of this support. Findings indicate that both African American and Black Caribbean adolescents provide and receive a substantial amount of support from family, though there is significant variation by age, gender, income, ethnicity, region, and country of origin within and across these populations. Further, subjective family closeness was related to both the receipt and provision of support. Overall, findings affirm the importance of investigating adolescent family support networks, as well as examining ethnic differences within the U.S. Black population.


Extended family Social support Support networks Race/ethnicity Adolescence 


Author Contributions

C.C.: Designed the study, assisted with data analysis, and wrote the paper. R.J.T.: Designed the study and data analysis and collaborated on writing the paper. L.C.: Collaborated on writing the paper and in editing of the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The data collection for this study was supported by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH; U01-MH57716), with supplemental support from the Office of Behavioral and Social Science Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Michigan. The preparation of this manuscript was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to CJC (DGE 1256260), the National Institute on Aging to RJT (P30AG1528) and the National Institute for General Medical Sciences to LMC (R25GM05864).

Ethical Approval

Data collection for the NSAL Adolescent Supplement was approved by the University of Michigan Institutional Review Board.

Informed Consent

Prior to conducting the interview, informed consent was obtained from the adolescent’s legal guardian and assent was obtained from the adolescent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology, Gerald R. Ford School of Public PolicyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Work, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.School of Public Health, School of Social Work, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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